The British dance scene has always been home to a number of enigmatic and interesting male dance personalities. Each of these famous dancers has helped to inspire a new generation of men to enter the performing arts. Here’s a little information on some eminent British male dance stars:
Wayne Sleep came to prominence as a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet. At only 5’2″ (158cm), he was unusually short for a male dancer and his height meant that directors were initially reluctant to cast him for traditional male roles. However, his talents meant that he was not rejected outright and choreographers began to create parts specifically for him. Since retiring from stage roles, Sleep now appears on a number of popular TV dance shows.
Visit Wayne Sleeps official website here.
After spending 14 years as a professional dancer, Matthew Bourne is now one of Britain’s most prominent dance choreographers. He was knighted in 2016 for his contributions to British dance. He is credited with helping to introduce ballet to a wider audience by helping to stage more accessible ballet performances. His ideas to bring ballet to a wider audience included adaptations of popular films, such as Edward Scissorhands. He is best known for his reimagining of Swan Lake, in which the traditionally female swan roles were danced by male performers. This was a controversial choice when the performance was first staged in 1995.
Read more on Matthew Bourne here.
Akram Khan is a British dance performer who has been trained in South Asian dance disciplines. He was inspired by his Bangladeshi roots to try to introduce new contemporary dance styles to the United Kingdom. As well as becoming the choreographer-in-residence at the Southbank Centre, he has also worked with various pop stars to choreograph Asia-inspired dance routines for music videos and concerts. Khan’s dance company performed a unique routine during the 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony.
Much more information on Akram Khan can be found on the Akram Kham company website.
Christian Holder was born in Trinidad in 1949. He moved to London with his family when he was a baby. Holder’s father, Boscoe, ran a troupe of Caribbean dancers who became famous in Britain.
Christian regularly performed with the group during his childhood, including a performance at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Thanks to his exposure as part of the dance troupe, Christian was able to earn a place at a dance school in New York. Since graduating from dance school, he has performed in and choreographed performances all around the world. In addition to this, Christian Holder is renowned for taking on additional roles in performances, including costume design and set design.
Read Christian Holders bio here on his website.
Naz Choudhury is credited with helping to make Bollywood dancing more accessible to the British public. In addition to his talents as a Bollywood dancer and choreographer, he is also known for his business acumen. He used his skills to create and market Bollywood dance performances which would appeal to the general public, rather than just appealing to people who were already familiar with the Bollywood dance style.
Wikipedia has an in-depth page on Naz Choudhury which you might want to look at here.
Although he is known as an all-round entertainer, Bruce Forsyth first found fame as a singer and dancer. He learned how to dance at the age of eight, after watching films of Fred Astaire. He was forced to put his career on hold for a short period after the war, when he was called up to do National Service in the Royal Air Force. He returned to the stage and screen in the 1950’s and has remained in the public eye ever since, although poorer health in recent years has restricted his working life somewhat but it isn’t surprising at nearly 90 years of age!
Bruce Forsyth reinvigorated his personal passion for dancing by hosting the revival of Strictly Come Dancing between 2004 and 2014. Despite his age, Bruce would still perform the occasional dance number on the show.
Visit the Wikipedia page on Bruce Fosyth.
Ashley Banjo is the leader of the street dance troupe, Diversity. Diversity first came to fame on Britain’s Got Talent, but Ashley’s calm personality and cool persona helped him to become a breakout success. The group helped to introduce street dance styles to the general population of the UK. As the lead choreographer for the troupe, he was also given the opportunity to work with other performers. Ashley regularly appears as a judge or guest on popular dance shows.
Go to the official Diversity page on Ashley Banjo here.